Government Structure

Taiwan is governed by a multiparty democratic government headed by a popularly elected President and a unicameral legislature. Taiwan’s government consists of five branches: The Legislative Yuan (National Assembly), Executive Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan, and Control Yuan.

The Executive

The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the Taiwan government, headed by the premier. The premier is directly appointed by the President, while other members of the Executive Yuan Council or Cabinet—comprising the vice premier, ministers, chairpersons of commissions, and ministers without portfolio—are appointed by the President of the Republic upon the recommendation of the premier. The premier performs such functions as clarifying administrative policy, supervising the activities of organs of the Executive Yuan, and reporting and responding to the Legislative Yuan and its legislators.

The Legislative Yuan

The Legislative Yuan, which previously had 225 members, now has 113 members.

  • 73 are directly elected under the first-past-the­post system in single­member constituencies;
  • 34 are elected under party list-PR using the largest remainder method with Hare quota. Any party receiving 5% or more of the Party vote can enter the parliament. For each party, at least half of the legislators elected under this system must be female;
  • 6 seats are elected by aboriginal voters through single non-­transferable vote in two three­member constituencies.

Members of the Legislative Yuan serve a four-year term. The 5 largest parties with 3 seats or more can form caucuses. If there are fewer than 5 such parties, legislators in other parties or with no party affiliation can form caucuses with at least 4 members.

Local Governance

There are currently three levels of administration in the local government: special municipalities, counties and provincial municipalities, and townships and county municipalities. These are defined based on area, population, and income. Special municipalities are defined as an area with a population of over 1.25 million and meeting specific political, economic, cultural and urban criteria. Provincial municipalities are areas with a population of over 500,000 that are politically, economically and culturally important. An area with a population of over 150,000 with significant commercial, industrial, financial, and transportation system development as well as comprehensive public facilities may be considered a county municipality. County governments are headed by magistrates and city governments by mayors. Both are directly elected for a four-year term and may be re-­elected to serve a second term. Counties are subdivided into county municipalities and townships. These are led by mayors and magistrates, who are also popularly elected for up to two four-­year terms.

The Judiciary

The Judicial Yuan (Judiciary) is the highest judicial power in Taiwan. Its chief powers are to adjudicate civil, criminal, and administrative cases, cases concerning disciplinary sanctions of public functionaries, and cases concerning the dissolution of political parties violating the Constitution. The Judicial Yuan has a President and a Vice-President, each of whom is nominated and, with the consent of the Legislative Yuan, appointed by the President. The President of the Judicial Yuan is in charge of the administrative affairs of the Judicial Yuan and supervises its subordinate organs.

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